Volume 1 (The Family)
Tuesday morning started with excitement in the house on the hill. Although everything was ready for their first day at school, both boys were checking and double checking their bags to make completely sure that they were correct.
Tony had to smile to himself. In the end, he calmed the situation by confirming that all was OK and they should not worry. He knew that in a day or so that both lads would be fine and take in their stride.
A similar situation was occurring in the Barn. As he was older, Adam would be in a higher part of the school along with John in year 9. Jamie and David and would be in year 6. Gladys was a past master at calming Adam down and by the time he had to go over to the house for transport, he was fine.
As soon as they arrived at school, John came over along with Daniel Cheng and suddenly all nerves disappeared as they were all among friends. By the time greetings were over, the bell went for assembly.
The headmaster gave a longish talk about the schools policy on bullying. No bullying would be accepted and any breaking of the school rule would end in dismissal. The school hymn, 'Onward Christian Soldiers', was then sung. It was as much for its strong tune and words as for any other reason, although quite a lot of old boys were military.
After assembly, the boys were given their timetables and a map of the school. The first lesson of the new term would start at 10 am, giving the children new to the school, a chance to find their way around. Again, as on their first visit, older boys helped them to familiarise with the layout. The greeting of 'good morning master' or 'good morning prefect' was heard often, as the boys moved around. By 10 o'clock, all the boys were at their allotted places. David and James first class was double English. The first lesson was taken up with each boy giving the rest of the class a short resume of who they were, where they lived and their interests.
Jamie managed to get through his telling quite well, but David stumbled a lot through his until he saw Jamie give him a wink. That was enough to settle him and he finished his resume more at ease. It was a small class of 25 boys, but so good were their talks, that it was lunch time by the time they had all finished. Not that they got away with anything, as they were all handed a note giving instruction to produce a story of what they did during the summer holidays. Home work already. The new term had started. At lunch, all the friends gathered together to swap stories. All had something humorous to add to the stories and by the time they had eaten their lunches, it was back to the afternoon classes.
David and Jamie had PE for the last period. The gym master wanted to see how fit the boys were and had decided on a cross country run of three miles. The boys all lined up and a drop of a flag saw them off and running. There were four leaders, two of whom were David and Jamie. The brothers took it in turns of leading each other until the last 400 yards. Then it was each boy for himself. The two other boys dropped off and David and Jamie went full pelt to the finish. Jamie won by just 2 yards and David congratulated him on his win. The rest of the boys came in over a period of time until they were all safely back. One boy had hurt his ankle, although not badly. The master had them all shower, which caused a problem for Jamie and David. They had never showered with other boys except themselves. They had not realised most of the other new boys were in the same boat. They managed alright in the end, as pink blushing cheeks changed to daft banter and towel swipes.
Mister Wilkie, the PE teacher, gathered them together once they were dressed and asked for the four boys who finished the race first to remain behind. When the others had gone, he told them about the inter-schools cross country coming up in mid December. He asked the boys if they would like to train as the year 6 team. It was a full team race, where the first school home with its whole team would win. All the boys said yes. David asked the other 2 boys their names. One boy was Indian and when he gave his name, the other boys looked puzzled, so he then told them to call him Rav. The other boy was easy, "I am Sam," he declared. All the boys were elated to have been chosen and one could tell there would be fierce competition to be overall team winner.
The first day of school over, they found not Angela, but Tony waiting for them. He was talking with Mr Cheng and John's father. When they saw the boys, they stopped talking. One result of the chat, was that Mr Cheng's restaurant was the eating venue this evening. He had promised that he would keep a section of the restaurant for all the families to fit in. Mr Cheng also intended that he would join in the meal with his family. The total attending would be fifteen in number. John asked if Stan could come as well. He would pay for him, if needed. Tony asked Mr Cheng who said the boy was welcome as his personal guest. That made the number a round 16. The time was set for 8 o'clock sharp. All the boys got into their respective vehicles and set off for home. Tony chatted with the boys on the way about their first day.
Adam had made a couple of friends already in his class and he had a trial for the under 14 football team on Friday. David and Jamie told of their being picked as part of the cross country team. Tony was so proud of them and promptly told them so and included Adam in that as well. They were home in no time and after a quick change, they got down to the homework. They had a lot to write about and had soon completed their essays. Each was different from his brothers, except when relating about the foxes, yet even that part differed slightly. After they had finished, they went upstairs to get ready to go out for dinner.
They took 2 cars so everyone could travel in comfort and arrived at Mr Cheng's restaurant at 7-50 pm. John, his parents, and Stan had already arrived and had made their way inside. Mr Cheng greeted the family as they filtered in and directed them to a screened off part of the restaurant. Behind the screens, was a very large table set out for a banquet. There were no name tags on it. Mr. Cheng suggested that everyone just mix together like one big family. Tony sought a chair next to Stan, as he wanted to find out more about the boy and his circumstances. He found him and sat beside him, saying hello to the boy.
"Hello Tony. How was David and Jamie's first day at school?"
"From what they told me Stan, they had a good day. How about you?"
"It was alright, but I missed my friends. They were the only ones I had at school. John is my best friend though."
Something in Stan's demeanour gave Tony a feeling something was seriously wrong. He spoke quietly to the boy and they moved to a quieter area.
"What is wrong Stan? I can tell something is."
Stan tried to hold the tears, but did not succeed. The tears started. Tony hugged him and got a tissue out to help dry the boy's eyes.
"Tell me Stan. Maybe I can help."
"Can I come to your home and talk to you please, Tony? I can't tell you here."
"OK son. I'll ask Angela to pick you up after school."
"Can you bring John with you please?"
"Of course, if he wants to Stan."
"I will ask him. When he knows what has happened, he will come."
Tony produced a tissue and gave it to Stan to wipe his eyes.
"Right Stan, let's go and enjoy our meal."
The meal was a sensation and the conversation good. All the children chatted with each other, probably about the school day. Everyone gave a round of applause to Mr Cheng after the meal and with a flourish of his hand he told everyone that the dinner was on the house, declaring that it was his anniversary. Then he and is wife kissed, to cheers from all at the table. It had been a lovely evening for all involved, although Tony did see that Stan was a bit agitated throughout. Stan managed to get John on his own for a minute and Tony noticed a glistening in John's eyes when they came back. He thought to himself, 'There's more to this than meets the eye.'
Everyone quickly shook hands to say goodbye, as all the children had school the next morning.
Back in the monster, David and Jamie seemed quiet for them.
"You boy's alright?" Tony asked.
"We are just worried about Stan, he seemed upset tonight."
"Hmm, well Stan is coming to see me tomorrow evening after school and he asked for John to be there. Do you boys know something?"
David spoke up first and said. "It is best that you talk with Stan and John first dad. We don't know why he wants to speak to you. We think we know, but it will be better for him to tell you himself with John."
Tony looked in the mirror and saw the boys were looking serious so he didn't push any further. He just gave Angela a glance and held her hand a second.
Later with the boys in bed and asleep, Angela wanted to know what was going on.
Tony explained what had happened at the restaurant.
Angela gave him her look and said with a smile. "We are becoming a bit like agony aunts love. I wonder if we can do much to help."
"All we can do love, is try and help kids. It seems that is what the wind had in mind for us."
"True Tony and I wouldn't want it any other way. Cocoa for you?"
"Yes, please love and then off to bed for me. I am very tired tonight for some reason."
"Me too, it has been one heck of a day.
The next morning, there was a less hectic atmosphere as the boys found the routine a bit easier than the day before. Adam knocked on the door and the boys met him there, ready to go. As soon as they got to school, they cornered John to get the details. John was very upset and it transpired that Stan had got bullied at school because John wasn't there. The boys were appalled and upset as well after hearing that.
"Dad will sort it out John, I am sure." David said. "He is a wizard."
The bell rang then for assembly and they separated to their own year space.
At assembly, the Head introduced all the prefects to the rest of the school. He explained that if boys had problems or needed help, they should talk to a prefect before a teacher. The reason was, that the school preferred that the boys sort out their own problems among themselves, if they could. They sang the school hymn and went off to classes.
David and Jamie had English again first and handed in their homework to the master. The lesson was an exercise in reading. The book chosen was 'Swallows and Amazons', quite easy reading, but gave the master a good idea of each boy's reading level. He explained after, that the best five essays would be read out to the school on Friday morning at assembly. That set the room buzzing. Jamie was picked as one boy, but David wasn't quite good enough. He was told he would improve in time, as the school worked hard to get everyone to be able to speak in public in a clear, clean voice.
The PE teacher made a point of contacting the four boys in their class to give them the times of training for the cross country team. It would be after school on Monday evenings. Other sessions would be during normal PE lessons.
At lunch, David and Jamie stayed with their new classmates as they would see their sibling and friends in the evening at home. David found two artistic boys in the class and Jamie three boys interested in model making. There was yet to be an art class and the woodwork/metalwork lessons were on a Friday morning. One followed the other. The art master had been informed of David's talent and had asked David to bring in a sample of his work. Jamie insisted that he take the picture of the foxes he had done for him and the one of the family. David declined taking the family one in case mum or dad saw it by accident. He would sort out some others instead. Sadly, model making wasn't on the curriculum of the school, but there were after hour's clubs that did many hobbies. These were nurtured by the school because they wanted all the boys to expand their minds. David and Jamie looked on the notice board and found there were clubs they were both interested in and would ask dad that night if they could join. The lunch break was a bit of fun as the younger boys played a form of rugby never seen before. It was just a free for all to get the ball. No goals or tries, it simply turned into chaos, but fun.
The afternoon was math for two periods. Jamie and David both found it hard going, as the class level was a little above the state school. However, the Master was excellent at his job and placed them at their ease, telling them they would soon catch up and not to worry.
At the end of the school day, Tony was at the gates waiting for the boys. Jamie and David were first out, then Adam and John. They got in the monster and headed for home. Stan was already there waiting with Angela. Adam and the younger boys went over to the barn for some snacks, sensing that the others needed privacy.
As soon as John saw Stan, he burst out crying and then Stan joined in with him. Angela handed the boys some tissues and let them cry themselves out. When they had stopped and wiped away their tears, Tony had Stan and John sit together and gave them some tea and cakes.
"Right boys, where would you like to begin. It is obvious you both care for each other and you have a serious problem. Perhaps you should start John."
John then opened up and through frequent tears, told the story. He and Stan had known each other since they were three years old. They did everything together, first at nursery then kindergarten, up to junior and then finally senior school. As the years went by, John became Stan's protector, as he wasn't a strong boy and a little feminine. With that, also grew a stronger bond. At first, John would give Stan a hug here and there and then more recently, at sleepovers they, well, explored each other more and more, until one night they fell in love. Well maybe they had been in love a long time, but that was the night where they actually said so. Since then, they had been like one. They saw Jamie and David one day, getting bullied by some older boys and John went and stopped them. Since that day, it had been the four musketeers. David and Jamie knew about them and they about David and Jamie. Then the new family was formed and a new school. Stan and John were upset, but thought that being able to see each other at other times would be OK. Unfortunately, what John thought might happen did, Stan got bullied and without protection, would be badly hurt soon.
Tony and Angela sat back in the settee quiet for a minute or two thinking. Suddenly, they both said as one. "Bursary!" John looked startled by the sudden outburst.
Tony did the speaking.
"OK boys. This is what we can do. Angela and I will start a fund for you Stan. We will explain it to your parents as a bursary award for your education. The fund will last 5 years, so that you can get to do your A levels. They will want to know why of course, and there lies a problem. How good are your grades at school Stan?"
"They are good Tony; I was always just below John in third place at most things."
"Good for you Stan, that makes things easier for Angela and I. Now, go and phone your mother and tell her I need to speak to her."
Stan got up and went to the phone, dialled his home number. When his mother answered, he told her Tony wanted to talk to her. She remembered Tony from the birthday party and was happy to talk with him. Tony outlined his idea with her and gave his reasons. At first, Stan's mother would not accept, but finally gave in. She told Tony that she had guessed about the boys, having heard them one night on a sleepover. She hadn't been spying, but had heard sounds on her way to bed, unmistakable sounds. Tony had to smile, Mothers, what would children do without them? He replaced the receiver and turned to Angela and said. "Now the school, I expect the head is still there."
He checked the number, dialled and asked for the Headmaster. Being put through, he explained fully to the head what the problem was and could he take Stan on at the school. The head double checked with Tony as to what he had said. Then immediately said that yes, he would take Stan on, but would want to see both boys in his office on Monday morning before assembly. Tony asked him why and the head freely volunteered that the school had a club for homosexual boys, which was run by a senior master and his partner, also a master at the school. It was a safe place for the boys to go and talk freely. It's existence was known of throughout the school and it was also known that homophobia would not be tolerated in any form. As far as he was concerned, a persons sexuality was something they were born with, not something learned or to be ashamed of. He explained that many ex-boys were still couples and very successful in their careers. Tony thought about that and asked the head to please hold on a second while he talked to his wife. He quickly explained to Angela who said, "Yes, of course love." Tony then went back to the headmaster and said. "My two sons are also a couple. Could you talk to them also next Monday with John and Stan?"
"With pleasure, Mister Andrews, although that is rare for brothers." Tony then had to explain the actual connection between David and Jamie. He imagined the headmaster's smile at that news. The headmaster agreed to the request and disconnected the call after saying goodbye.
Tony then sat back into the settee and explained chapter and verse what had been decided and what would happen at school. The look on the two boys' faces was a picture to behold. John leaned across and kissed Stan and suddenly realised and apologised to Tony and Angela. They both laughed and told the boys to be themselves unless there was outside company. Tony then phoned George telling him he could send the boys back now. David and Jamie rushed in the door asking breathlessly what had happened. Adam, more sedately, wasn't too sure what was going on.
Tony had them all sit down and told David to get them all cokes. When he came back, Tony explained to them all what had transpired. Adam frowned a little, but then said after the explanation. "Well I like girls and you are my brothers and friends, so I don't care if you cuddle and kiss. Please don't kiss me though." The other four pursed their lips with Tony and Angela joining in and made to do just that and then joined in the laughter as Adam screamed. Seeing the funny side, he soon joined in the fun, pursing his lips also. Tony then got Stan and John to phone home to let their parents know they would be staying for dinner.
Adam was asked to go and get Julie for dinner. Tony suddenly realised, he hadn't asked Julie how she liked her new school and planned to do so later.
It was a crowded table that night, with10 people for dinner. It was a very happy atmosphere and the whole evening ended up with contented faces and stomachs. The children all helped with clearing the table, washing up and putting away the washed items. Tony finally got the chance to ask Julie about school and got a glowing report on her first two days.
Before Stan and John had to go home, Tony and Angela planned what would happen the next day. Tony would take the morning off work to set up the fund for Stan and then take him to his old school to let them know he was leaving and why. Then, for the afternoon, he would hand him over to Angela to take him to the school outfitter for his uniform and then drop him off home to sort everything out with his parents. After that, the children all went outdoors for some exercise while the adults put their feet up with a brandy.
In bed that night, before they went to sleep, Angela and Tony were discussing the events of the evening. Tony asked Angela if what had been sorted out was alright with her. She smiled and said to him, "Tony, we have two great and happy children. Mum and dad have two great and happy children and now, there are two more that are close with ours. What more could we want. I think we did the right thing for the boys and, oh sexy one, I reckon they appreciate what has been done for them. I am seriously looking forward to seeing them all grow."
Tony gave Angela a huge hug and agreed with her. The rest is their business.
Across the hall, David and Jamie were quietly talking. "I wonder what the headmaster will say next week David? And fancy there being a club specially for us."
"Dad said the school was great Jamie, but it is much better than we thought. A club for boys like us, wow."
Both were tired and wished each other goodnight. They were asleep in no time and had a dreamless night.
Tony dropped the boys at school and then went to pickup Stan from his home. His mother greeted him at the door and asked him in. Once inside, she told him that there had been an argument with her husband the night before, but she had won the battle, so all was well for Stan to go to St Andrews. Her husband's biggest objection was not the boys' sexual preferences, but that he would become a snob going to a toffee nosed school. 'Strange how some folk get stuck in a social rut,' thought Tony. Stan appeared and they left to go to his school. Once there, Tony got into a heated argument with the Head teacher about the bullying allowed to go on. Tony realised he was on a losing wicket and bade the man goodbye without a shake of hands.
Tony took Stan to meet with Angela and then went off to work. Angela then sorted out Stan's uniform and returned him home with it all in packages.
After school that day, the boys wanted to know what had happened, so Tony filled them in with the events.
Much happened in the next few months. The boys joined the various clubs and were accepted among their peers. Stan joined St Andrews School and was happy. Tony and Angela started to prepare for their wedding. So as the day approached, the nerves got a little jangly and before they knew it, was the 7th of December.
The next part will be the end of Volume 1 and covers the day before to the day after the wedding of Tony and Angela.
Please let me know your thoughts on the story.